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Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1 - Adobe Indesign Windows

Vendors submit ads in PDF format for a regular publication we create in InDesign CS 3.0.1 (on Windows XP). I had one that wouldn't place. Error message read: "Failed to open the PDF file." It's just a black and white text ad so I tried to open it in Photoshop CS but that failed, too. FWIW, Acrobat Reader 6 wouldn't open the file, but when the client told me it opens fine for them, I updated Reader to 7 and that opened the PDF. Tried using the "Copy" feature in Reader, but that copy wouldn't place in ID either. Don't ...

  1. #1

    Default Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    Vendors submit ads in PDF format for a regular publication we create in InDesign CS 3.0.1 (on Windows XP). I had one that wouldn't place. Error message read: "Failed to open the PDF file." It's just a black and white text ad so I tried to open it in Photoshop CS but that failed, too. FWIW, Acrobat Reader 6 wouldn't open the file, but when the client told me it opens fine for them, I updated Reader to 7 and that opened the PDF. Tried using the "Copy" feature in Reader, but that copy wouldn't place in ID either. Don't know how the vendor created the PDF, but an earlier one from them that did place properly was created in MS Word, then turned into a PDF by some program (she thought it was called PDF Factory).

    Any ideas why a PDF that displays fine in Reader 7 won't place on ID?

    Thanks!
    Nancy Foster
    Nancy_Foster@adobeforums.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    First off, if you're doing a lot of this, you should have Acrobat
    Professional, not Reader.

    Now, off my soapbox. Open the PDF in Reader and check the doent
    properties.

    Bob
    Bob Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    I've considered buying a copy, but it's been hard to justify the expense. I only have one client with this situation and their publication only comes out 5-6 times a year.

    I checked the properties, but didn't see anything helpful. I can see the file started as a DOC file, was converted to PDF by PDF Factory 2.32 using PDF version 1.2 (Acrobat 3.x). None of that tells me why Reader can display it, but InDesign won't place it and Photoshop won't open it.
    Nancy_Foster@adobeforums.com Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    Non-Adobe PDF producers are something that I would be a bit careful
    with. I'm not familiar with this one in particular but PDF 1.2 is a
    pretty old standard. I'm not sure what support there is for it.

    Bob
    Bob Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    Yeah. It drives me crazy when I see people using all the wrong software to create something. Unfortunately, these vendors are buying advertising from my client, and my client doesn't want to refuse ads. What's more frustrating, my client has informed the vendors that my company can produce their ad at an extremely reasonable cost. But it seems their viewpoint is why pay anything when I can have my secretary create the ad in Word. Argh! Making matters worse, we're usually talking about law offices who could certainly afford professional services.

    Anyway, the most frustrating thing is that Reader 7, an Adobe product, can read the file, but Reader 6, ID CS, and PS CS, also Adobe products, cannot. It just doesn't make sense.
    Nancy_Foster@adobeforums.com Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    Hi Nancy,

    I don't know if this will violate any client-provider privilege, but if you e-mail me one of the files at ca, I will take a quick boo. I have Acrobat 7 Pro and should be able to at least see what's going on. It may be as simple as re-outputting the PDF via PDF printer and Distiller (pro version only), a process called a "wash." Sometimes this strips out enough proprietary gobbledygook to make things work.

    If receiving and printing client PDFs is your business, though, I would strongly recommend Acrobat 6/7 Pro as an absolute minimum, with a possible investment in PitStop Pro and other industrial-strength PDF-tweaking software. As the saying goes: Professionals are predictable, but the world is full of amateurs.
    Shane_Matthews@adobeforums.com Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    Thanks for the offer, Shane. I'll email you the problematic PDF. I appreciate anything you find.

    As I mentioned earlier, we only have one client with this problem. The vast majority of our work is all done by us (not advertiser-supported client publications). That's why it's hard to justify the expense of Acrobat 7 Pro. Instead, our investment has been in production software like ID, PS, FreeHand (sorry, Adobe... I started with FreeHand years ago so I've stayed with it), and Dreamweaver. After that, it's spent on fonts, photos, and illustrations. But believe me, my partner and I have seriously discussed making the investment.
    Nancy_Foster@adobeforums.com Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    Nancy,

    Acrobat Professional is a production tool.

    Bob
    Bob Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    Yes, Bob, it is. But in our line of work, it doesn't rise to the same level as all the other software packages we need. Again, out of all our customers, we only have one where this is an issue. If the bulk of our clients were like that one then, of course, the priority for something like Acrobat Pro would certainly rise.
    Nancy_Foster@adobeforums.com Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    You might want to see if somebody who has InDesign CS2 can place the PDF successfully. After all, Acrobat 6 wouldn't open it, but Acrobat 7 would, and InDesign CS2 is of approximately the same (newer) vintage as Acrobat 7.

    It's probably either something wrong with the PDF, or very unusual about the PDF.

    Regards,

    T
    Thomas_Phinney@adobeforums.com Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    I have the most recent InDesign CS (3.0.1). You would think that should handle anything CS2 can. I don't know anyone locally who's running InDesign at all. :( I'd be more than happy to send the offending PDF to anyone on this forum who'd like to give it a try.
    Nancy_Foster@adobeforums.com Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    Send it off to me. I'll take a look.

    Bob (robertjaylevine<AT>msn<DOT>com)
    Bob Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    Hi Nancy,

    I've replied to your e-mail with the repaired PDF and an explanation, but for the benefit of all I'll repeat it here: The issue appears to have been security. Your client may have placed some security features in his PDFs, perhaps unintentionally, meaning they couldn't be placed without the password.

    I'm not sure whether security was the issue or not, because some of the settings on the security page appear to contradict one another. However, washing the PDF through a program that strips security settings did fix the problem.
    Shane_Matthews@adobeforums.com Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    Any security setting will prevent the file from being opened in
    Photoshop or placed in ID.

    Bob
    Bob Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    Thanks, Shane. I'll go grab email and take a look. The most bizarre part of this whole mess was their original PDF placed just fine. Their only problems were it was doing a four-color separation (and this is a simple 2-spot-color job so the black and white photo looked terrible) and they'd sized it wrong (mixed up the dimensions). When they assured me the photo was an actual greyscale image (we often get "black and white" RGB images from these vendors) and told me how they were creating the PDF, I had them leave the photo out of the redesigned ad and send me the TIFF image along with the PDF ad. You would think that if their first ad placed just fine, the second one would have to. But God save us from companies that save money by having the secretary create an ad in Word, then use some odd third-party program to make the PDF. ;-}
    Nancy_Foster@adobeforums.com Guest

  16. #16

    Default Re: Failure importing certain PDFs in ID 3.0.1

    Oh, and I forgot to mention: I'd checked the security settings once I got Reader 7 to open it and didn't see a problem. It's interesting that you saw the conflict when you used Acrobat. How on Earth they managed that we'll never know. One more reason not to use things like Word and PDF Factory to create a PDF. :)
    Nancy_Foster@adobeforums.com Guest

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